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Russian architectural science serials and international databases

Alexander G. Burtsev
Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts, Ekaterinburg, Russia

Russian science serials published by higher education organizations play an important role in that they are the official vehicle for the publication of dissertation results. At present, the status and visibility of these journals is supported by their inclusion in the “VAK list” of peer-reviewed journals published by the All-Russia Attestation Commission of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation. Unfortunately, this list  is going to be cancelled in the near future, after which the Ministry proposes that all the main dissertation results are to be published only in journals included in international databases. As in many countries, Russian science serials aim to be included in international databases but face many problems in achieving such indexing. Thus many journals, losing the support of the VAK listing and their role in publishing dissertation results, may be forced to close. Such a situation pertains to the ​​science serials in the fields of architecture.

We have assessed the potential of Russian science serials in the fields of architecture to be included in international databases. The analysis used data from the Science Electronic Library (www.elibraru.ru) and journal websites. It showed that journals with dominant technical bias and privately owned journals have greater potential for being included in international databases than do humanitarian journals and those owned by higher education organizations.

At present Springer publishes Power Technology and Engineering  and Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering. Architectural journals of this type (i.e. technically biased) publish more  issues per year (6-12) and have articles that are more extensively referenced and are more highly cited, so these journals are more likely to be included in international databases and indexing services. The Russian Science Citation Index for 2010 included in its top 10 only two journals that were not privately owned: Vestnik grazhdanskih inzhenerov and Seismostoikoye stroitelstvo – Bezopasnost sooruzheniy.

Neither of the journals published by Springer nor others currently pay serious attention to parameters such as an international editorial board, detailed manuscript structure and style guidelines, a clear peer-review process or adherence to guidelines recommended  by EASE or other editors associations.

Technical journals are in a more favourable position because of the better scientific quality of technical publications than of humanitarian ones and the overall technical direction of 21st century architecture and urban planning processes.